x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

Nearly 8,000 Filipinos turn out to cast votes in Abu Dhabi and Dubai

Early indications from voting in the UAE showed the senator known as "Noynoy" was the front-runner since counting began on Monday at the Philippine Embassy.

ABU DHABI // For Evangeline Montemayor, 31, a pastor of the Pentecostal Missionary Church of Christ, her church's support for Benigno Aquino has not been in vain. "He has no record of corruption and is God-fearing," she said. "His platform for Filipino migrants stands out. We are assured of jobs in our country." Early indications from voting in the UAE showed the senator known as "Noynoy" was the front-runner since counting began on Monday at the Philippine Embassy in Abu Dhabi.

Jose Bugay, 38, a sales executive, referring to the evangelist presidential candidate who conceded defeat yesterday, said: "I'm not disappointed that Brother Eddie [Villanueva] didn't win,. But we will continue to support him till the end." However, Jojo Macabinquil, 47, a technician in Abu Dhabi and another Brother Eddie supporter, said: "I'm not a hypocrite. We're emotionally drained at this time. We've campaigned long and hard and used our own resources. What's important is that we didn't give up."

Vangie Junio, 41, a housewife in the capital, said: "Gilbert Teodoro [the former defence secretary] may have conceded to Aquino, but I still believe that he is more competent to lead our country forward." Witnessing the tedious manual counting of more than 4,000 votes in Abu Dhabi, which began at 6pm on Monday and was expected to finish at 10pm last night, Mrs Junio said the next elections for UAE expatriate Filipinos should be automated, like those held at the Philippine embassies in Hong Kong and Singapore, which transmitted their results to Manila on Monday night.

Out of the 47,720 Filipinos who registered as overseas absentee voters in the UAE, 7,917 cast their votes at the embassy in Abu Dhabi and the consulate in Dubai between April 10 and May 10. @Email:rruiz@thenational.ae